TrackMan back in full force

It has occurred to me recently that I have not written about my TrackMan use lately and I wanted to explain a bit about how I have been using it and the future plans for this wonderful data collection device.

This scene is going to be very common now that the weather has turned in Portland:


For the past couple of months every day that I wanted to get the unit out it seemed to start raining just before setting up, but the next ten days here look clear and after that we are approaching the Portland summer which is an amazing time of year and perfect for bringing out a ball flight monitor and laptop.  Since January, when I wanted to use the TrackMan I went down to Trails End driving range and hit off the mats as the range is covered from the elements.  Now, though, I can start collecting data based on hitting off of grass, which is ideal for really understanding your impact zone and ball flight numbers.

Over the past month I have been collecting data with the PW, 5-iron and driver to send to Dr. K Anders Ericsson in order to better understand the current state of my swing, which we are deeming as the “base level.”  What they surmise from this base level will help determine what aspects of the swing that I need to focus on in the immediate future as well as down the road.  Anders and his associates are not experts on the golf swing and are not offering swing advice, rather he and his associate Len are exploring the data looking for consistency issues in the swing.  For example, if they see that my PW has an average variance of 25 feet from the designated target and the PGA Tour average variance with that stick is 8 feet we look at the club variables to see if there is one blaring aspect causing this variability and then I can break down that number with my coach to figure out what I need to change in order to create a more consistent swing.

The goal of this will be to shore up the inconsistencies and get my swing into an appropriate, or PGA Tour level, groove where my average distance from target with each club is at the appropriate level.

I collect data both randomly and in a blocked format.  On day one I hit 10 PW, 10 5-iron and 10 drivers all in a row and save that spread sheet.  Day two I hit 10 of each club but run through them in a random order.  I have been switching these styles of days to gather more information for them to analyze and am not sure what will come out of it, but will definitely post any results that they find.  The idea is to change up my routine so as to not turn into too much of a range robot.

Because of the wonderful amount of data that TrackMan collects we can analyze a huge number of different parts of my swing to figure out what is causing the flaws.  If you look at the data sheets like this one from a couple weeks ago: you can see how it would be possible to break the numbers down into countless subgroups to better understand what is going on with the golf swing.  It’s possible to paint a brilliant picture of someone’s swing without filming it at all, rather through understanding how it is impacting the ball.

Another fun aspect of gathering data is that once my new clubs are here and broken in we can see how the numbers change from the data that I am collecting right now.  It will be absolutely fascinating to see if/how the Titleists differ from the Nikes.

TrackMan is a powerful piece of equipment and the more I use it the more I realize that I have just begun to scratch the surface of how it is going to play a huge part in making me the best golfer that I can possibly be.

If you have never used one, I would encourage you to find one in your area and give it a test run.  I will be posting new data soon and once Dr. Ericsson and Len have had time to break down my base line swing I will definitely post their findings.  Together we are going to help shed some light on what can literally help improve my game and, in turn, help any golfer who wants to break through to the next level.  That is the goal and that is what I hope comes from these sessions.

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